A 21-year-old Carleton University student and Bethany resident, Elizabeth Fraser, will represent the Green Party of Canada for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes – Brock in the fall federal election.
The third-year environmental studies student tells the Advocate she started the Carleton University Green Party club when she was in her first year of studies and has been involved with them since that time.
Knowing of her work at Carleton, a coordinator for the young Greens asked her if she’d be interested in running. After mulling it over Fraser decided to take the plunge, filling out the necessary paperwork and becoming the acclaimed candidate.
Given her university studies, the Advocate asked if she will be visible in the riding leading up to the election.
“I definitely want to be present in the community. I’m going to make an effort to be there because of course I want people to know who I am and what the Green’s stand for,” says Fraser.
“I will be able to attend the debates within the riding,” she adds. “It is very important that constituents have the opportunity to make the most informed vote possible and part of that is having access to all parties’ voices during debates.”
Fraser points to the ‘Green wave’ in British Columbia, with the Green’s holding the balance of power in a minority government there, and with federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s own seat situated in that province. As well, polls are consistently showing a number of additional seats look winnable for the party there.
The Green wave has extended to Prince Edward Island, where Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker led his team to Official Opposition status in the PEI legislature. Even in Ontario provincial leader Mike Schreiner has opened up a beachhead in this province with his win in Guelph.
Fraser says she hopes to assemble a “great team of dedicated volunteers within the riding” who are just as passionate as she is.
She knows jobs and economic development is a big focus for this local riding and she emphasizes the Greens are not a one-issue party.
“There’s big potential for investment in renewable energies in our area,” she says, noting the wind farms in Bethany – despite the pushback – and the many solar panel farms.
“There’s so much opportunity for sustainable energy which is connected to jobs. It’s very hard to bring traditional industry back now,” to small towns, she notes.
Another key plank for the Green Party is its emphasis on supporting and investing in small businesses, says Fraser.
“We need more entrepreneurial opportunities in this riding. We can’t rely on big corporations any longer.”
All main parties now have candidates in place leading up to the next election. Barbara Doyle is representing the NDP. Judi Forbes is representing the Liberals. Incumbent Jamie Schmale will run again for the Conservatives. Gene Balfour, a former Libertarian candidate, is representing the new right wing People’s Party of Canada.